bishops weed

Gratitude for Spring

Daffodils are having a banner year.
What a spectacular—albeit dry—spring is unfolding in the Northeast. The sunny weather is exceptional, nothing to take for granted.  We are all in a frenzy of planting.

Well, not quite a frenzy.  It is time to plant greens and peas—and water them, too.  We don’t set out tender plants, such as tomatoes, until Memorial Day weekend.  Freezes will still come, if past springs, even last year, has taught us.

I heard of a woman who used to live in Virginia, then moved to Vermont.  Each spring she takes her children down to Virginia, just to experience spring.  Spring in Vermont, she says, is too fleeting.  It isn’t a real season, just a moment between winter and summer.

I’m taking a moment to express gratitude for the way spring unfolds in Vermont.  It is less fleeting than it is subtle. You just have to know when to start looking for it. 

Spring begins with the maple syrup run, which starts with snow still on the ground.  In my household, we made a record five gallons this year.  It was an unusual season with a long, long stretch of ideal cold nights and warmer days when the sap boiled down to fancy for a prolonged period.  This was followed by a stretch when the sap didn’t run at all because it was too cold, then another stretch of ideal weather.  I am glad to be done with sugaring, but also delighted with all the wonderful syrup that will make great gifts year-round.

I am grateful for the ramps and fiddleheads that are springing up in the woods.

There was enough snow pack for fiddleheads and ramps, but mushrooms are not to found.
I am grateful for daffodils and the other spring bulbs that brighten the garden and the migrating birds that stop at the bird feeder. I am grateful for the rhubarb and raspberries and blueberries that are just breaking dormancy and promising another season of desserts and jam making.

Raspberries are just breaking dormancy.Dependable rhubarb is just breaking dormancy.
I am grateful for an energetic son who is digging a new asparagus bed and who has declared war on the bishops weed that invaded the garden a few years back and won’t be controlled by digging, weeding, soil sifting.  This years plan: a 1-foot trench around the affected bed, to be followed by black plastic for a year or more.  

Bishops weed -- a more pernicious invader I have never seen.
I am not grateful for bishops weed that invaded the garden, moles that ate my tulips, cluster flies that invaded the house, and black flies that attack me. Even gratitude has its limits.